Trade and Business

Trade and Business Economics and Trade

Manchester's Chinatown is the largest in the UK outside London. It plays a vital role in the area's social, cultural and economic life. In 1986, Manchester was twinned with Wuhan to stimulate business links with China. The Chinese Imperial Arch was a collaboration between the cities of Wuhan and Manchester. It was erected in Chinatown in 1987.

The first Chinese settlers arrived in Greater Manchester at the end of the nineteenth century. Many were servants in the homes of wealthy industrialists, and some were students at the University of Manchester. By the early 1900s, many Chinese were employed in the laundry.

From the 1950s, there was significant immigration to the UK from New Territories, Hong Kong. Many entering people came to Manchester and established takeaways and restaurants. Initially, these catered for Chinese workers, but by the 1970s, Mancunians had begun to develop a taste for the new fast food and fine cuisine. In the 1990s, bean sprouts, bean curd, noodle and pancake factories opened to serve the many Chinese takeaways and restaurants.

The twinning of Manchester with Wuhan in 1986 and the establishment of the China- Britain Business Council North West helped create better business links. Raymond Chan is the Chair of the Manchester Business Association. Gerry Yeung, MBE, owner of the Yang Sing restaurant, was the first Chinese Chair of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( 2003-04).

Manchester's Chinatown is the largest in the UK outside of London. It plays an important role in the region's social, cultural and economic life. To strengthen commercial ties with China, Manchester and Wuhan became sister cities in 1986, and in 1987 they joined hands to build Chinatown China Tower. This building stands proudly and symbolizes the sincere friendship between the sister cities.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the first Chinese arrived in Manchester. Among them, except for a small number of students at the University of Manchester, most usually work as servants in wealthy businesses or in laundromats.

Beginning in the 1950s, many Chinese came to the UK from the New Territories of Hong Kong. As the number of Chinese in Manchester increased, some of them with business minds opened Cantonese-style restaurants in the city centre to serve the Chinese working in Manchester. In the 1970s, Manchester locals also began to try and accept the delicious new fast food - Cantonese cuisine. In the 1990s, many factories were expanded, such as bean sprouts, tofu, noodles, pancake skin (duck skin), etc., mainly sold to takeaway shops and Chinese restaurants in Manchester.

In 1986, Manchester and Wuhan established a sister city relationship and the establishment of the "Northwest Sino-British Trade Association" better promoted the business exchanges between Britain and China. Mr Chen Xingui is the chairman of the Chinatown Neighborhood Chamber of Commerce. The owner of Yangcheng, Yang Juwen MBE, was the first Chinese chairman of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2003-2004).

There are many Chinese import and export trading companies around Cheetham Hill.

“The government now imposes the rule that you have to be qualified to hire staff from abroad. It undermines the importance of the culture of the Far East. Now, you must apply for and pay for the right to employ staff from Hong Kong. I've never heard of it before! I understand if it is for a CEO, but for Chef? The takeaways and restaurants all have the same problem: we can't find good chefs. China Town is dying, not because we're lazy, but because we are struggling."

"The British government is now implementing a new policy. Employers must have certain qualifications to hire foreign employees. This is undoubtedly not conducive to hiring workers from the Far East. Now if you want to hire a Hong Kong person, the employer has to apply to the British government and provide various guarantees. This is unheard of! If you hire a president, then."
~ Raymond  Wong

“We have a family farm here, owned now by my brothers. My mother used to sell chickens to Chinese takeaways and restaurants. In those days, the law was slack; but now, with bird flu, you aren't allowed to kill the chickens. We used to sell them as fresh products.“
~ Jack Haslam 陆英才


Manchester Chinese Centre
67 Ardwick Green
M12 6FX

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+44 (0) 161 275 9885

Charity Information

Manchester Chinese Centre is a company limited by guarantee (Reg No. 5641623) and a registered charity (Reg No. 1114121).

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